- Access to finance
- Attracting investors
- Provision of labour market information
- Support of companies' growth
- Support of internationalisation
- Support of SMEs
The instrument comprises services to support exports and international growth of companies 'at various stages of internationalisation' in Finland. Although companies may use the services provided by Team Finland, the target group is SMEs.
As a one stop shop, Team Finland brings together under its umbrella a number of services supporting the internationalisation of businesses. This includes everything from basic guidance on internationalisation to export promotion and financing, promoting and protecting investment abroad, networking and promotion services abroad, and international foresight information.
Team Finland is a broad network whose core consists of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Culture, and publicly funded bodies and Finnish offices abroad promoting Finland internationally. Also private and third sector actors, including companies, universities and non-governmental organisations cooperate with the network.
At the regional level, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) support companies growth. ELY centers have appointed Team Finland-coordinators whose task is, in coordination public employment services (TE-services) and other partners in the Team Finland network, to match local companies needs with the right type of services provided by Team Finland. At the local level, public employment services support companies international growth by assisting them with recruitment of competent workforce and competence development of already existing workforce.
According to Team Finland’s website, the purpose of the network is 'to provide businesses with a smooth service chain, ranging from advice services to financing'.
- Regional funds
- National funds
The government, and more particularly the competitiveness and employment objectives set in the government programme, guides the activities of Team Finland. Team Finland is steered by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are represented in the Executive Group together with the senior management of organisations in the Team Finland network, key business and industry organisations.
Public employment services
Public employment services (TE-services) are part of the Team Finland network. They support internationalisation of companies by supporting them with recruitment of competent labour force and providing help with competence development.
Main network partners include Business Finland, Finnvera, Tesi. The partners' tasks include for instance helping to provide financing and finding business contacts, and information to support the internationalisation of businesses.
The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) guide companies with internationalisation. Together with the public employment service (TE-service) ELY Centers facilitate recruitment of competent workforce.
ELY Centers have Team Finland coordinators that represent the network in their area. Finnish Industry Investment), Finnish Patent and Registration Office, Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Finnfund, Finnpartnership and Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes.
According to a 2017 survey of 517 Finnish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) conducted by Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, 59% of Finnish export industry SMEs reported a need for the type of services that Team Finland provides. A quarter of these international SMEs – approximately 6,000 companies – reported having used Team Finland's services. Especially companies in a growth phase and SMEs with more than 50 employees had used the network’s internationalisation services. On a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (good), the companies using Team Finland services rated the network’s expertise as 3.05.
One of the main internationalisation services for companies offered by the network are the minister-led export promotion trips abroad. In 2015, there were 11 trips with a total of 309 participants from companies and other partners. The tours reportedly resulted in significant cooperation projects as well as in smaller partnerships between individual companies and foreign authorities. In 2016, Finpro reported having organised 41 export promotion trips, on which 568 companies participated.
According to representatives for the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, gathering all services supporting internationalisation under one umbrella facilitates the internationalisation process as available services are easier to identify this way. Once a company is under the network umbrella, it has access to a wide range of services and can receive versatile support for its businesses.
This view is supported by the companies’ expectations on internationalisation support: in the survey among Finnish SMEs in 2017, 58% of the companies aiming for the international market reported that it is important to find all services through one contact. The network seems to be fairly well known among international SMEs in a growth phase, since half of them reported having used Team Finland’s services.
Although some progress has been made in terms of how well the services are known, the awareness of Team Finland among Finnish companies is still relatively low. According to the 2017 survey by Confederation on Finnish Industries, a third of international SMEs had not used Team Finland’s services, although they reported a need for internationalisation support. In addition, only 5% of the SMEs reported that they found the service they needed through one contact.
A key issue in the development of the network during the past years has been the lack of user-friendliness and coordination. Following critique in this regard, some rearrangements in the organisation of the network were made in 2016. In 2017, the government announced a merger of the Finnish trade promotion organization Finpro and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, Tekes. The resulting new agency, Business Finland, operational from January 2018, became a part of the Team Finland network, providing services ranging from innovation funding, internationalisation advising to promoting export and tourism.